Amazon Invests $2B On Affordable Housing

Amazon on Wednesday announced a $2 billion investment in affordable housing in communities where it has a significant business presence. The online retail giant created the Housing Equity Fund, which is designed to “preserve and create over 20,000 affordable housing units” in the Puget Sound region in Washington state, as well as Nashville and Arlington, Virginia. Amazon has or expects to have at least 5,000 employees in each of these areas in the near future. “Amazon has a long-standing commitment to helping people in need, including the Mary’s Place family shelter we built inside our Puget Sound headquarters. The shelter now supports over 200 women and children experiencing homelessness every night,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “This new…

Former Compass Agent Sues Startup

A California agent has filed a lawsuit against real estate startup Compass, accusing the company of engaging in bait-and-switch tactics to lure high-performing agents away from other companies. The suit filed by former Compass agent J. Gregory Maffei, first reported by Inman, alleges Compass uses “unfair, unlawful and fraudulent business practices.” It seeks $10 million in damages and reimbursement for unpaid commission and expenses, the Real Deal reported. The Real Deal provides some details on the suit: Maffei’s suit claims Compass has leveraged “more than $1 billion in funding from venture capitalists to support its ‘bait-and-switch’ tactics and to account for the losses Compass has incurred by overpaying and poaching its competitors’ real estate agents.” The filing was first reported by Inman.…

Hello, Idaho. Adios, Jersey. Where We Moved In 2020

Americans packed up the moving vans and fled New Jersey and New York at a higher rate than any other state in 2020, with the U.S. migration patterns continuing to be to the West and South, according to the annual United Van Lines national migration study released Monday. The study, which tracks moves using United Van Lines, found that Idaho was the highest percentage of inbound migration at 70 percent. New Jersey led the way for outbound traffic for the third straight year, with 70 percent leaving – followed by New York and Illinois (both at 67 percent). “United Van Lines’ data makes it clear that migration to western and southern states, a prevalent pattern for the past several years,…

New Deal Puts UWM Logo On Red Wings Helmets

United Wholesale Mortgage will be the official mortgage provider for the Detroit Red Wings and their home Little Caesars Arena under a multiyear partnership, the Red Wings and Pontiac, Michigan-based UWM announced Monday. As part of the sponsorship, UWM logos will appear on the 11-time Stanley Cup champions’ helmets throughout the 2021 season as well as on the ice at Little Caesars Arena. The season begins next week. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed. “We are excited to welcome UWM as the official mortgage partner of the Detroit Red Wings, and for this innovative, Michigan-based business to be the first-ever featured partner on our iconic red and white helmets,” said Chris Granger, Group President, Sports & Entertainment, Ilitch…

Home Depot To Pay $20.75M Over Lead Paint Violations

Home Depot will pay $20.75 million under a proposed settlement after its contractors in states across the country allegedly failed to take proper steps to reduce the spread of lead dust and paint chips during renovations, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice announced Thursday. In addition to the fine, the settlement requires Home Depot to implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide program to ensure that the firms and contractors it hires to perform work are certified and trained to use lead-safe work practices to avoid spreading lead dust and paint chips during home renovation activities.   “These were serious violations. The stiff penalty Home Depot will pay reflects the importance of using certified firms and contractors in older home renovations,” said…

Realtor.com Acquires Avail

The parent company of realtor.com announced Tuesday it is going to take a bigger role in the rental market with the acquisition of Avail, a company that helps landlords across the country manage their rental properties. Avail supports landlords by assisting them to create and market rental listings, screen applicants, process payments, track maintenance requests and more. It also helps renters complete rental applications, sign leases, pay rent and submit maintenance requests.  “This acquisition is a key part of our strategy to make finding a home easier and more rewarding,” said David Doctorow, CEO of realtor.com. “We believe that Avail is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of the DIY landlords and tenants in a large, growing and underserved market.…

Mr. Cooper Settles With States, Feds For $74.5 Million

Mortgage servicer Nationstar, which does business as Mr. Cooper, agreed to pay a $74.5 million settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, state attorneys general and bank regulators for violating a variety of federal laws designed to protect borrowers. Regulators had accused Mr. Cooper of violating the law from 2012 to 2015 by: Failing to identify thousands of loans with existing in-flight modifications and failing to recognize some transferred loans with pending loss mitigation applications or trial modification plans or failing to identify and honor other borrowers’ loan modification agreements.Foreclosing on borrowers to whom it had promised foreclosure holds while they applied for loss mitigation relief.Improperly increasing borrowers’ permanent, modified monthly loan payments.Failing to timely disburse borrowers’ tax payments from…

NY Tenants Sue Trump Family Over Inflated Rent

More than 130,000 current and former tenants filed a class-action lawsuit against President Trump and his family business for allegedly elevating rents in rent-regulated apartments since 1992. Filed in Kings County Supreme Court in New York, the lawsuit alleges President Trump, his late father Fred, and other members of the family increased rent by falsifying the cost of capital building improvements in reports to New York City housing authorities. “This was a huge tax fraud scheme, designed to allow Fred Trump to transfer money to his family members without paying estate and gift taxes, while at the same time, stealing money from their rent-regulated apartment house tenants,” said Jerry Parker, senior partner at Parker Waichman, which filed the lawsuit on behalf…

Freddie Mac CEO David Brickman Resigns

Freddie Mac chief executive officer David Brickman notified the company this week that he is stepping down from the role he has held since just last year, Freddie announced Friday in an SEC filing. Brickman’s resignation will be effective January 8. Freddie gave no reason for Brickman’s decision in the filing, though a spokesman told the Wall Street Journalthat it was a “personal decision.” The SEC filing said, “The Board will also be launching a search for a new CEO for Freddie Mac.” Following the notification, Freddie appointed Michael T. Hutchins interim president, effective Monday. Hutchins, 64, has served as Freddie Mac’s Executive Vice President – Investments and Capital Markets since January 2015, and prior to that, he served as Senior…

Rocket Companies Reports Record Q3 Results

Rocket Companies on Tuesday announced third-quarter financial results that included closed loan origination volume of $89 billion, a 122 percent increase over the third quarter of 2019. Rocket Companies also reported: Increased net revenue by 186 percent and adjusted revenue by 163 percent, with as total expenses increasing by 46 percent. In addition to $89 billion in loan origination volume, the company saw a net rate lock volume of $94.7 billion – a 101 percent increase over 2019.Increased other income by 140 percent year-over-year, which included Amrock’s strong growth from title insurance services, property valuation, and settlement services as a result of the increase in origination volume.  “In the midst of the pandemic, we were able to help an unprecedented number…